C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Inderjeet committed suicide, says father
Absolves cops of torture charge
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Barely hours after alleging that his son was tortured to death by the police, Sudama Singh, the father of Inderjit Singh, who died under mysterious circumstances at the Industrial Area police station on Monday, absolved the cops of all charges by filing an affidavit before the inquiry officer claiming that the incident was a “suicide”.

In an affidavit filed before first class judicial magistrate (JMIC), P.K. Lal, who was conducting the inquiry, last evening, Sudama, in a complete flip-flop, claimed that his son was mentally upset and had committed suicide. Incidentally, the affidavit was filed a couple of hours after he had spoken to The Tribune, reiterating his charges against the police.

In the affidavit, he had claimed that he was informed by the police about his son’s arrest in an accident case and was called to the police station to bail him out.

He had further stated that investigation officer was not present in the police station and he was told to furnish a bail bond for the release of his son. “Three hours later, I was informed that my son had committed suicide in the custody of the police,” he had stated.

He claimed that he was provoked and influenced by his friends to level allegations of torture against the police. Saying that his friends had convinced him that he could get a monitory compensation for his son’s death, Sudama, who till yesterday was stating that Inderjeet never used to wear a belt, today confessed that he hanged himself with a belt.

He further alleged that Inderjit was addicted to liquor and was under depression. “I do not want any action against the police officials, nor do I demand for any sort of inquiry in the matter,” he stated. Meanwhile, Sudama has also written a letter to the Chandigarh administration seeking a compensation of Rs 50,000.

Talking to TNS, Sudama agreed that he had submitted an affidavit and said: “ No one is responsible for the death of my son. Beside submitting an affidavit to the magistrate, I have also written a letter to the administration demanding for a compensation.”



Another diarrhoea death in Mohali
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 1
Another child of Balmiki colony died due to diarrhoea at the Civil Hospital here today, taking the toll of deaths to two.

Jyoti, who was about one year old, was admitted to the hospital last evening and she died at 4.30 am today. Earlier, a seven-year-old child, Arvind, of the same colony had died due to diarrhoea on July 23.

District health officer S.P.Surila rejected the reports that Jyoti had died due to cholera. He said the child was malnourished and was also suffering from gastroenteritis. She weighed only about 5 kg when a one year old child should have a weight of about 10 kg.

Dr H.S.Sarang, SMO in charge of the Civil Hospital, said the father of the girl was also admitted here on July 30 but was then referred to the PGI, Chandigarh. Jyoti was brought to the hospital by her mother. The doctor on duty wanted to refer the child to the PGI but members of the family refused to take her there.

Sarang said another child of Balmiki colony was also admitted to the hospital yesterday. But the condition of the child was stable. As many as 10 patients suffering from diarrhoea visited the OPD of the hospital from various parts of the town.



Wife Battering
More trouble for Anurag Verma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The police has added Section 498A in the FIR registered against IAS officer Anurag Verma on the complaint of his wife Shweta Verma.

Earlier, Anurag was booked under Sections 323 (causing hurt) and 341 (wrongful restraint) of the IPC. The offence under Section 323 is punishable up to one-year imprisonment while that under 341 is punishable up to one month.

However, the offence of “cruelty” under Section 498A is a more serious offence and is punishable with imprisonment up to three years. The offence covers both cruelty by a husband towards his wife per se as also cruelty rising out of demand for dowry.

The fresh charge has been added after seeking legal opinion from the UT’s senior standing counsel Anupam Gupta. In a 15-page-long opinion, Gupta said he was of the “firm opinion” that Section 498A should be added. Gupta’s opinion states that Shweta ’s comprehensive and circumstantial account of Anurag’s conduct ever since their marriage abounds in verifiable details and specifics which make out for the registeration of a case under section 498A.



Woman spurns husband, parents
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Tension prevailed between two families over the illegal confinement of Lata, a resident of Sector 47 here, who was recently married to Rajesh Katoch, a resident of Sector 52 here, against the wishes of her family.

According to sources, Lata was married to Katoch last month against the will of her parents. Her parents informed Lata on July 19 that her father, Karam Chand, had suffered a major heart attack and his condition was serious.

Lata was forced to come back to her parent’s house and was detained there for almost 10 days against her will. Katoch sought the help of Chandigarh police and got his wife released today. She was later produced in the court.

The girl was said to be under depression. She requested the court to send her to Nari Niketan. She said I neither want to go to my parent’s house, nor do I want to go back to my husband. I need time to think and decide. The court decided to send the girl to Nari Niketan till August 4.

Bhupinder Singh, SHO, Sector 31 police station, said, “The girl wanted to stay alone, following which the court decided to send her to Nari Niketan.”



Axing of trees by GMADA under judicial scanner
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The Greater Mohali Area Development Authority’s action to cut down hundreds of trees along the road from Phase XI to Phase III-V light point in Mohali has come the judicial scanner.

In a public interest litigation filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh-based NGO Yug Sankalp Foundation has claimed that the action of the state agency was illegal.

Elaborating, the petitioner contended the GMADA never took permission of the environment and forest ministry as required under the rules. The petitioner, through its authorised representative Jagjit Singh asserted the trees had been done away with on the pretext of widening of the road in order to curtail traffic chaos.

However, the petitioner asserted the action of cutting trees was unnecessary on the face of it. As such, the petitioner sought direction to quash the GMADA decision, which amounted to deforestation in terms of the Constitution and statutory provision.

Taking up the matter, the Division Bench of Chief Justice Vijender Jain and Justice Mahesh Grover issued notices to respondents for November 6, 2008.

The Bench has also issued notice for November 12 to the State of Punjab and other respondents on a PIL by Baltej Singh and others about the cutting of an old peepal tree in Mithri Budhgir village in Lambi area under Malout sub-division of Muktsar district. The petitioners have sought action against those responsible for the act as the peepal tree was on shamlat land and the authorities concerned, including the forest officials, failed to act.


Centre tells UT to promote cycling, walking
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The ministry of urban development has asked the Chandigarh administration and the municipal corporation to promote walking and professionally manage use of non-motorised vehicles like cycles and rickshaws.

In a communication to the UT, the ministry has sought that the civic body comes out with a systematic plan to discourage the use of private vehicles and instead promote use of non-motorised vehicles. The plan will have to be implemented as per the Comprehensive Urban Mobility Plan under the National Urban Transport Policy.

“The ministry is keen that the exercise should be undertaken as a pilot project,” said an official. An interesting aspect of the project is that the cost of carrying out the exercise will be borne by the urban ministry. The project has come up at a time when the Chandigarh police was pushing its case to declare certain areas of the city as “rickshaw-free zones” to prevent accidents. The district administration was also contemplating to ban rickshaws in Sector 17.

It was being felt that with increase in the vehicular population, touching almost the seven-lakh mark, pedestrians and cycle-users were being edged out due to widening of roads to facilitate the movement of private vehicles. As a result of widening of roads, the pedestrians and non-motorised vehicles were prone to accidents. In metros, construction of flyovers was resulting in eating up of space reserved for pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motorised vehicles.

The UT has also been asked to dedicate paths for walking, cyclists and rickshaws. Though the UT has made cycle tracks, they are in a poor shape. “While preparing master plans, it is mandatory that a complete network of bicycle tracks should be made,” the secretary, ministry of urban transport, has pointed out.

Acting on the communication from the ministry, the civic body is inviting expression of interest from interested parties. The project may be implemented on public-private partnership basis.



Online returns becoming popular
Anuja Jaiswal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Electronic filing of income tax returns by the salaried class seems to have taken off in a big way going by the number of returns received by the tax department till July 31.

Although e-filing was optional for the salaried taxpayers, official sources said the income tax department received 6,343 returns from this category without a digital signature till July 31 through this mode.

Without a digital signature, an assessee needs to print out two ITR forms. One has to be submitted to the tax office and the receiving clerk or officer will stamp and return the other one for your records.

"This is an encouraging response. Increase in e-filing only shows that there is better compliance of tax laws," additional commissioner of income tax said. It was pointed out that last year very few of salaried class assessees opted this mode.

As part of its efforts to encourage better tax compliance, the finance ministry had recently launched a media campaign urging taxpayers to utilise the option of e-filing of returns, said senior officials of income tax department.

Last fiscal, the tax department received e-returns, but the majority was related to corporate assessees and about thousand returns were filed by non-corporate assessees.

The government had last year made e-filing of returns mandatory for corporate assessees.

As per data available with the income tax department, in Range IV, about 1,544 assessees filed e-return, from range III, about 2,274 assessees, from range V, 2,116 assessees and 409 assessees from range II have filed e-return. They were those who came into the category of without a digital signature.

According to officials of the income tax department, from CIT I (range I, II and III), about 73,707 assessees filed their IT return which is more as compare to last fiscal, as only 47,348 assessees filed income tax return. However, they received less number of return in CIT II (range 4,5 and 6) as the total 1,02,669 assesses filed the income tax return as compare to last fiscal in which total 1,20,494 have filed the income tax returns.



Misplaced priorities of CTU
Akash Ghai

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The CTU seems to be having misplaced priorities. While officials of the local transport claim that the grid system is gaining popularity among commuters, the ground reality is altogether in contrast.

Missing bus routes in routine, especially during peak hours, overcapacitated buses, rude behaviour with commuters by the staff are the major factors which are compelling local commuters to use other modes of transport like autorickshaws, rickshaws and private vehicles for transportation.

Students and employees, who use local buses, are the worst affected. With the certain routes continue to be neglected putting them to a lot of inconvenience daily.

“Due to irregular bus service, we always get late for our morning classes. Many a time, buses miss the route while sometimes the drivers don’t stop the bus at bus shelters because of overcrowded buses. As this has become a routine, we pool money to go to the university”, say Panjab University students Arun Raina, Priya and Aditi Mehra, all residents of Sector 29.

There is no bus from Sector 29 to General Hospital-16, GCG, GCM, DAV College and PGI. Students and patients have to go to either Sector 20 or Sector 27 to catch the bus for that route causing inconvenience to them.

According to Vivek Shukla and Ankush, students of Sector 16 government school, no CTU bus goes to the that route. “We have to go to Sector 27 first then take the bus.That takes at least one hour extra besides affecting studies. Earlier, there were buses for that route but these were discontinued,” they said.

Making the similar complaint, Anuradha of Sector 44 said, “From the Sector 43 ISBT, one can judge the state of affair while travelling on the routes to the PGI, Punjab and Haryana High Court or Sector 17 bus stand. One cannot even stand properly due to heavy rush. One can see the carelessness of the authorities that no timetable of the local buses has been put at the bus stand”.

The claims of seven-minute frequency of buses on every route fall flat as at every second bus stop, one can find the commuters waiting for the buses for over half-an-hour, Anuradha added.

On the issue, CTU director P.S. Shergill said, “We are open to the complaints of the people. If they (the commuters) are facing such problems, they should come to me directly at any time during office hours. Otherwise also I will check myself these issues and the guilty staff will be taken to task surely”.



Fire dept sans key officers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The Chandigarh municipal corporation is least bothered about filling key posts in the fire and emergency service department.

Out of four posts of station fire officer, two have been lying vacant for a long time and the third incumbent is likely to go back to his parent department as his deputation period ended on July 25. After his return, only one regular fire station officer will be left with the corporation.

Interestingly, the department is awaiting approval for the extension of the employees on deputation, but it is least interested to consider its own employees for promotion despite the fact that the employees got special training for the same post last year.

Sources revealed that the sub fire officer M.L. Sharma was appointed as station fire officer in 1999 when he came on deputation from the Chandigarh State Agriculture Marketing Board and had been regularly getting extension of six months until now. This time, his case for extension was pending with the corporation.

Sources said the department had imparted training to its employees so as to make them eligible for promotion to the post of station fire officer, but they had never been considered for promotion despite the vacancies. Sources further said there were seven fire stations in the city for which only four posts of station fire officer had been created.

What was the necessity to impart training to the employees when they were not to be considered for promotion to the post station fire officer by the corporation? Where is the need for wasting money to train the staff for higher posts? Why the case of extension of the same person was considered every time by the department when eligible staff for the post is available within the department? asked employees of the corporation.

MC secretary P.K. Sharma said the approval for the extension of M.L. Sharma was yet awaited. He admitted that no internal employee of the department had been considered for the post.

At the recent house meeting, MC commissioner Dr Roshan Sunkaria had stated that if the eligible employees were available in the department or any promotion was pending in the department, then no outsider would be considered for the post. He had claimed that there was no department in the MC where an outsider was appointed if eligible internal employees were available.

This clearly indicates how seriously are the orders of the commissioner taken by the corporation officials.

Even the post of chief fire station officer of the corporation was vacant since long. The corporation has asked the panels from Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh a number of times, but it has failed to get a suitable officer for the post so far.



Cop’s Plea for Reversion
CAT directs police to examine case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
While there are people who fight legal battles to get promotion, here is a head constable who has filed a case in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) seeking quashing orders of his promotion.

The applicant, Ram Lubhaya, was so anxious to get a reversion that he submitted various representations in 2001, 2002, 2003 and then in 2005 but to no avail.

A resident of Sector 40, Lubhaya was granted out-of-turn promotion to the post of assistant sub-inspector (ASI) for his exemplary performance at work. However, he realised that the promotion has given him no benefit as he is continuing with his scale of constable whereas the ad-hoc promotees get regular pay scales and attendant benefits.

Lubhaya stated that he joined the UT police as constable in 1988. Further, a terrorist on whom a reward of Rs 5 lakh was declared committed suicide in 1993 after the applicant chased him. A huge cache of arms and ammunition was recovered from the terrorist.

Thereafter, the applicant was to be given a commendation certificate on Independence Day. The UT police SSP persuaded the applicant not to accept his share of award and said he would be granted promotion as an award. In recognition of his further outstanding service, he was granted ‘own rank and pay’ (ORP) promotion to the post of ASI with orders dated April 12, 1993.

Lubhaya further added that his adjustment from regular promotion to one in ORP is illegal, arbitrary and discriminatory of Articles 14, 16 and 39 (D) of the Constitution of India. He stated that once he is performing duties to the post of ASI, he could not be denied pay on the principle of equal pay for equal work.

Pronouncing the orders, the CAT, headed by Shyama Dogra, observed: “The UT police is directed to examine as to whether the applicant falls within the quota limit of 10 per cent under Rule 13.8 (2) of Punjab police rules and could he be given regular promotion. If he is found to be entitled to such promotion, he may be given a promotion from the due date with all consequential benefits of pay and allowances. But if his case is beyond the limit, then there will be no fault in the ORP promotion of the applicant. The police is directed to pass speaking order on the claim of the applicant.”



Dimpy Murder Case
Probe delayed; Rocky’s pistol yet to go to lab
Ramanjit Singh Sidhu
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Procedural wranglings seem to be causing rather avoidable delays in the ongoing investigations in the Dimpy murder case.

Even after a lapse of five days, the investigating officers are yet to send the .45-bore pistol, recovered from Jaswinder Singh Bhullar, alias Rocky, on July 27, to the Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory (CFSL) for examination.

The pistol is the only scientific evidence obtained by the Chandigarh police so far in the case, which could establish the involvement of Rocky into the blind murder of “gangster” Prabhjinder Singh Dimpy, who was gunned down by two unidentified shooters outside Sukhana Lake Club on July 7, 2006.

Police sources said the investigating officer in the case today got the pistol transferred from the malkhana of the Sector 11 police station to the Sector 3 police station, where the Dimpy murder case was registered. Officials in the special crime investigation cell told The Tribune that the firearms, including the .45-bore pistol, with which Rocky and his accomplice Amandeep Singh was arrested, had been deposited in the Sector 11 police station the same day.

A police officer maintained that the delay was caused at the end of the investigating officials of the case.

Meanwhile, a senior police officer told The Tribune that the six-member team, dispatched to Meerut last night, had reached there. The officials went to the district courts in Meerut in search of Surinder Kumar Vakil. The team was told that Vakil had not come to the courts for the past couple of days. The team is making efforts to trace Vakil’s address in Meerut and was trying to establish contacts with locals.

The officer further added that Vakil was a practising lawyer and he would be instrumental in helping to trace Sunil, the other suspected shooter.

In all probability, the names of the shooters might also turn out to be fake, as Rocky had not reportedly given any details about the shooters.

A police officer in the crime branch informed The Tribune that the investigating officials were finding it hard to break Rocky, terming him as a “hard nut”. He added that Rocky being a shrewd and a seasoned criminal who was involved in several cases of kidnappings and murder, there was a probability of his misleading the investigating officials to cause delays in the probe.

A senior officer in the crime branch admitted that they were verifying Rocky’s disclosures.

Some of the officials are also not elated over the recovery of the pistol, saying that until the weapon is matched, they cannot say anything for sure about the leads. A police officer said .45- bore firearms were not that difficult to procure.

The only thing that makes this firearm a special one is that it was not easy to obtain a licence for it, as it is a prohibited bore.



Tribune Impact
Help pours in for Worrell
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Following the publication of the news of former Punjab Ranji player Devi Chand Worrell’s life in pathetic conditions, ‘Cricketer Worrell abandoned to fate by govt, BCCI’, in these columns today, the Punjab Cricket Association has come forward to foot the entire medical bill for his treatment.

Talking to The Tribune, R.P. Singla, an official of the PCA, said the association has decided to bear the medical expenses of Worrell.

“I met him (Worrell) and his family to apprise them of our decision. On the instructions of the PCA president I.S. Bindra and honorary secretary MP Pandove, I gave them Rs 5,000 immediately, besides ensuring all help to the needy family,” Singla said.

“It is not the first time, we are helping the family in the need of an hour. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the PCA had extended financial help to the family in the past also,” Singla said.

On the other hand, Sushil Kapoor, organising secretary of JP Atrey Memorial Cricket Tournament, stated that they would also pool in some financial resources for the welfare of former cricketer and his family very soon.

“The JP Atrey committee had earlier also come forward with a cheque of Rs 10,000 two years back to meet his requirements. As Worrell had done a lot for the game in the city as a coach also, now it is the duty of cricketing fraternity to help him in his hour of need,” Kapoor said.

Besides, certain philanthropists also contacted The Tribune to offer help to Worrell.



Workshop on breast feeding held
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
To mark the celebrations of World Breast Feeding Week from August 1 to 7, health education division of department of paediatric, PGIMER, along with Chandigarh chapter of the Indian Academy of Paediatric, organised a workshop on breast feeding for ANM’s working in various dispensaries here and its adjoining villages.

Dr Bhavneet Bharti, organising secretary, introduced the theme of this year -- “Mother Support: Going for the Gold” -- to the delegates.

Dr S. Singhi, head of paediatrics department, PGI, welcomed the delegates and urged each one of them to work for the success of breast feeding and for the sake of children’s health in India.

The students of National Institute of Nursing Education made the workshop very lively and easy to understand, bringing out the difficulties faced by mothers in different socio-economic classes.

Aarti Bakshi, childbirth therapist, demonstrated simple ways to prevent and manage many common breast conditions such as effective management of sore nipples. Dr Suksham, secretary, IAP, local chapter, demonstrated various breast-feeding positions and proper attachment.

On this occasion, Dr Anil Malhotra, president IAP, Chandigarh chapter, distributed the certificates to all 150 delegates. Number of activities are planned in the hospital and communities to support the mothers during the Breast Feeding Week.


  • In India, 2.5 lakh children die due to lack of first-hour breast feeding
  • National average of first hour breast feeding is 23 per cent



‘No tussle between CBI, NCB’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Reacting to Chandigarh Tribune’s stories, director, Narcotics Control Bureau, Saji Mohan, has stated, “There is no tussle between two organisations, the NCB and the CBI. It is just incidental that the two accused arrested by the NCB under the NDPS Act were once the complainants of the CBI, who had exposed and got police officials arrested for demanding money”.

He further stated, “I have never been on record and told any of the reporters regarding the nexus of the CBI with the narcotic smugglers at any point of time”.

Mandeep Puri responds

I stand by the contents of my stories. I had mentioned in my story “NCB, CBI at loggerheads” published on July 25, that, “It’s a co-incidence that a few suspects, arrested by the NCB wittingly or unwittingly, become the informer of the CBI or visa versa, later on.

But such cases raise question on their respective style of functioning.



Breast milk best for babies: Experts
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Babies born in today’s world probably have the best choices, as the market is flooded with a wide range of formula food and a variety of feeding bottles.

Yet, paediatricians repeatedly say the naturally unnerving breast milk is best for a new born.

According to experts, “In the first hour after delivery, mother’s milk contains many anti-disease factors and vitamins, and this feed is important for the child.” It could save more than 2.5 lakh of the country’s babies from death.

Mother’s milk is pure and can be preserved up to 8 hours, say doctors at Vani Vilas Hospital. “Working mothers should not hesitate to preserve breast milk at home.

There are several equipments available for this,” said a gynaecologist.



Traffic chaos on rise in city
Over 200 vehicles added daily
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Chandigarh is no longer a drivers' paradise. With the vehicular population bursting at seams and making it a city with highest vehicular density, city's wide roads and roundabouts are increasing. This, coupled with absence of any effective public transport system, only adds to the woes of the motorists and the commuters.

With Chandigarh attracting more and more professionals in the wake of the setting up of the IT Park and retail revolution, number of vehicles is on the rise, giving sleepless nights to the authorities concerned.

Better transport planning and traffic management are going to be the major challenge for the authorities concerned in years to come.

A look at the figures points out a distressing scenario in the days to come. Chandigarh, with a population of about 12 lakh, reportedly has over 6.5 lakh vehicles, about 4.5 lakh two-wheelers and over 2 lakh four-wheelers. Over 200 vehicles are added to the burgeoning vehicular population every day.

Being the seat of power for Punjab and Haryana, thousands of floating vehicles put further pressure on roads of the city, a majority of which have already been widened to their full capacity.

In fact, the traffic jams on the city roads, which were hitherto unknown, are becoming order of the day. This is particularly true of certain busy roads, particularly the inter-state roads. Ironically, the grid system of the roads has its own disadvantages in case of the traffic jams.

"Obviously, the city roads cannot take so much pressure. For a growing city like Chandigarh, an effective public transport system on the pattern of the mass rapid transport system is need of the hour," Suresh Sharma, an IT professional, said.

An unprecedented increase in the number of the vehicles has also put the parking lots, particularly in Sectors 8, 9, 17, 26 and 34, under strain with the motorists fighting for every inch of available parking space.

Official sources claim that though the vehicular population is on rise, yet the situation is much better than any of big city in the country.

Concerted efforts, including ground work for the Chandigarh Metro, is being done by the Chandigarh Administration to take care of the future traffic and commuting needs of the ever-increasing population, a senior official adds.

The way out

  • Effective public transport such as Metro
  • Car pooling
  • Community parkings for residents
  • Road sense among residents



Parking pain for residents; MC sleeping
Aarti Kapur
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
“Let problems mushroom and then we will try to find out its solution.” This appears to be the strategy of the Municipal Corporation in dealing with the parking problem which is becoming acute in the residential areas of the city, especially in the old sectors or group housing societies.

The authorities have always been concerned about the commercial parking of the markets as it generates revenue. But the residential parking problem is not even on the list of the corporation.

Interestingly, the number of sectors in the city has swelled in the recent years but the corporation has not yet formulated any rules for the parking in the residential areas. In most of the old sectors where the roads are narrow, the traffic jam is a regular feature as a large number of vehicles are parked on the roadside in an unmanaged manner.

During the last year, a proposal was framed by the corporation to convert the vacant land near residential areas into small parking lots but till date the proposal has not seen the light of the day and has not been tabled in the house.

One of the residents of Sector 44, Sham Lal Soni, stated that even after repeated request to the administration and corporation to have some provision for the parking lot in their street, nothing has been done. He said during night hours, it becomes a competition among residents to get the parking space for their vehicles and this has resulted in many quarrels.

A resident of Sector 19, Meena raises point that why the administration is not implementing the community-parking proposal in the residential area? Are they waiting for the situation to become worse for the residents of the city? She said if the commercial parking of the city could be managed by the corporation why no provisions have been made for the residential area.

A senior official of the corporation revealed that a proposal was in the pipeline to construct the fabricated parking area in the vacant space in the residential area but it is yet to be formulated.



Passport Scam
Police to probe immigration officials’ role
Mandeep Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The crime branch of the Chandigarh police is now seeking help from the foreign wing (immigration department) at the Raja Sansi airport, Amritsar, to investigate the involvement of immigration officials in sending people abroad illegally.

According to sources, the crime branch has recently written a letter to the foreign wing seeking help in connection with the involvement of the immigration officials, who were on duty at the Raja Sansi airport when Gurjinder Singh Lucky, the main accused, had sent people abroad illegally.

Sources revealed that the immigration department had already marked an inquiry against A.K. Singh, an immigration officer, who was allegedly involved in the scam. The involvement of the immigration department came to light with the arrest of Sukhwant Singh, a resident of Kapurthala, and Raj Kumar, a resident of Patiala, last month.

The duo was caught with fake passports at the Singapore airport, following which they were deported.

Lakhwinder Singh, another youth who was deported from Slovakia airport, told the crime branch that Lucky took Rs 9.5 lakh for sending him abroad.

Lakhwinder Singh, a resident of Hoshiarpur, had been sent abroad in the name of Jagjee. On April 21, Lucky had sent him from the Raja Sansi airport to Italy.

On April 26, he along with Daljeet and Manpreet was deported back to India. On reaching the Raja Sansi airport, Lucky took the slips from them, on which they had travelled to Slovakia.

The investigating officer told The Tribune that they had written to the immigration department, asking for the details of the immigration officer, who was on duty from April 21 to April 28. People had left the Raja Sansi airport without a proper check. Moreover, when they were deported to India, Lucky managed to take them out of the airport without any restrictions.



Back to old time

To maintain the flavour of the Le Corbusier era, the administration has kept the road adjoining to the Sector 19 office in the same condition as it was when Corbusier was engaged in the planning of the city. A walk on this particular stretch takes you back in the time when the great French architect with his team was shaping up the most well-planned city of our country. Well, the walk also shows the authorities intended to set the standards of maintaining meticulous road conditions right from its formative years. People of the city beautiful are welcome to take this walk back into the times.

Deluxe building

Amazingly, the additional secretariat building, from which the Chandigarh Education Department office is being run, is known as “deluxe building”. It seems that this “deluxe building” has been designed keeping in view the comforts of “some officers” only as each floor has one "exclusive toilet". This prized possession with tag "For officers use only" has been put under proper lock and key. One key would be kept with the officer another with their peons.

Holiday hangover

The holiday hangover for lawyers in the district courts continues as a majority of lawyers prefer to be in the bar room, than in the court room. At least half of the lawyers are seen playing chess, carromboard or watching television in the bar room. It seems there is dearth of work for the advocates, especially after the summer vacations. Thus the bar room seems to be the favourite hang out of them.

Stressed out

Long wait by cops while protesters of Sant Samaj raised slogans against the Dera Sacha Sauda got too much for the fair sex in the police force. Amidst the chaos that ensued as the protesters besieged the Cricket Stadium chowk, a tired woman constable found a perfect place to take rest — on the bar of the barricade. (see photo).

Invited, then neglected

Forest officials had to face the wrath of people who are brought to listen politicians by party workers and left unattended as soon as the VIP leave the venue.

On July 25, forest minister Kiran Chaudhary was to reach Thapli village near Morni to celebrate the state-level function of Vanmahotsava. She also had to inaugurate Swiss cottages set up in the forests. Party workers, however, could not depend on the local villages with thin population to impress upon the politician. So the people were “invited” from far-off villages like Mogi Nand.

While the minister was to reach the venue at 10.30 am, villagers started pouring in as early as 8.30 am where raginis were being sung to entertainment them.

The function passed off peacefully and the minister left the venue by noon.

However, the officials from the forest department were shocked to find many villagers at the place where lunch was being served to VIPs and mediapersons.

The agitated villagers said they left their home early in the morning on the assurance by the party workers that they would be served the food at the venue but not even drinking water was served .

The situation, however, was saved by an officer who immediately ordered to serve them with packets of food prepared for the staff involved in the arrangements of function.

Contributed by Aarti Kapoor, G S Paul, Swati Sharma, Ruchika M. Khanna and Arun Sharma



Paper dealers protest cardboard price hike
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 1
Members of the Corrugators and Paper Dealers of the northern region met at the MIA Bhawan here this evening.

R.P. Singh, Anoop Aggarwal, Sanjiv Dhawan, Mandish Singh, Tarsem Kansal, Vivek Gupta and Baljit Singh, representing the association, informed that they have pre-poned their strike beginning from today.

All corrugated boxes manufacturers in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, New Delhi and Rajasthan have called this bandh up to August 8. Almost 90 per cent of the units dealing in manufacture of corrugated boxes have joined this strike.

The price of cardboard has increased almost 51 per cent in the last two months.

The industry is protesting against the unjustified increase in rate of cardboard. They are protesting against the mill owners and also against the apathy shown by the Central government, which has lead to the present situation.

The corrugators and paper dealers are drawing the attention of the state governments concerned and the Central government to this situation and also to the fact that almost 1 lakh workers in the northern region will be affected because of this strike. The workers are at present giving their support to the industrialists against this price hike.



Solar eclipse throws normal life out of gear
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
A curfew-like situation prevailed in the city during solar eclipse today as people avoided coming out of their houses as astrologers on various TV channels warned people not to go out between 3:30 to 6 pm. People even avoided eating during the eclipse.

All these efforts were made by people to save themselves and their loved ones from the ‘evil effects’ of the solar eclipse. Many stories and myths related to the eclipse did the rounds in the city.

Renowned Sanskrit scholar said as per Hindu belief, one could not eat food during solar eclipse as sunrays were covered by the moon and the atmosphere became polluted. Therefore, for about two hours, people observed fast and did not eat anything. He said people prayed during the eclipse period.

City resident Raman Sharma said people pray to God for early release of their Sun God and do not eat anything as their God is in danger. He said people dispose of food and water once the eclipse is over because they become uneatable after the event.

Renowned astrologer P. Khurana said the effect of solar eclipse is on particular zodiac signs not on every individual. He said one should come out of all myths related to the solar eclipse.

Jigar Shah, an MBA, said he observed fast and prayed at his home during the eclipse. Saurin Sharma, a computer engineer, said he took leave from his office to remain home.

But there are some who think otherwise. Pragensh Patel, a computer engineer, said he watched the sun during the eclipse and ate as well. He said his parents did not allowed him to eat at home so he went out to eat to break the myth about evil effects of the solar eclipse.

Popular myths

  • Do not eat anything during solar eclipse as food becomes poison
  • Leo, Aquarius, Capricorn and Cancer are the zodiac signs most effected by solar eclipse
  • Consumption of milk or any white food item results in serious medical problem
  • Do not go out as it affects your stars
  • By giving alms one can save himself from the evil effects of the eclipse
  • Use tulsi leaves in food items as it is a good omen



IT event to begin on Aug 7
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The preparations for the two-day mega IT event “eRevolution 2008” are in full swing. UT Administrator S.F. Rodrigues will inaugurate the event intended to promote the region as one of the most preferred destinations for investment by IT companies on August 7.

The world class project Rajiv Gandhi Chandigarh Technology Park (RGCTP) is another initiative taken up by the Chandigarh Administration for promoting the city as IT hub worldwide, which after completion would provide direct employment to approximately 67,000 professionals.

Ganesh Natrajan, chairman, NASSCOM, and Som Mittal, president, NASSCOM, will address the inaugural session of the event. The conclave will include an array of keynote presentations on leadership insight and engaging youth by creating new trends and opportunities and future landscape and a panel discussion by the industry experts.

On the first day, Mohit Rana, principal consultant, AT Kearney, will discuss the NASSCOM report evaluating Chandigarh and neighbouring regions as favoured IT destinations.



Physics dept crowded
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 1
The observatory of physics department, Punjabi University, Patiala, has never had so much of crowd milling in. Today the event was special. The solar eclipse was seen by visitors through the 6-inch telescope of the observatory. The eclipse began at 3.58 pm, was maximum at 4.58 pm and finished at 5.54 pm. At the maximum, 57 per cent of the sun was eclipsed.

Dr P.S. Goraya, Dr Tejbir Singh Sandhu, students and other members of their team managed to capture the eclipse through the cameras attached to the telescope. “Prof R.C. Verma has been instrumental in providing us with the equipments needed for observations. Since morning, it was cloudy but we kept our fingers crossed. The instruments were ready and at last the sun shone through the clouds,” said Sandhu.

Sandhu added that though astrologers thought that solar eclipse was not good, it brought cheer on the face of an astronomer. Many great discoveries had taken place following studies of the eclipse phenomena.



Seminar on memory enhancing techniques on Aug 9, 10
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 1
Memory enhancing techniques can be helpful in stressful lifestyle and related diseases.

This was stated by Biswaroop Roy Chowdhury, who set a new memory record to register his name in the Guinness Book of Records in July 2006.

Chowdhury, who is in town to organise a seminar for school children, said according to a study, out of every three cases of suicide reported every 15 minutes in India, one is committed by a youth in the age group of 15-29. Alarmed with this development which is related to stress and depression in majority of cases, his enterprise “India Book of Records” has decided to organise free seminars for students.

The seminar to be held on August 9 and 10 at Indradhanush Auditorium will include techniques to reduce overburden of exam syllabus, elimination of study phobia, stress busters for perfect recall of answers and development of concentration of mind and power.



Consumers can pay energy bills on Teej
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 1
The cash collection centres of Uttar Haryana Bijli Vitran Nigam (UHBVN) will remain open in districts of Panchkula, Ambala, Yamunanagar, Kurukshetra, Kaithal, Karnal, Panipat, Sonipat, Rohtak, Jind and Jhajjar on August 4 (Teej holiday) and all Saturdays of this month, which are otherwise holidays in the state. The consumers, willing to make payment of their energy bills, would be able to deposit the amount up to 3 pm.

A spokesman of the nigam said the step was taken so that consumers can make the payment in time and not have to wait in long queue to deposit the amount of the bills on working days.



Beopar mandal ‘s plea on VAT
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
A delegation headed by Charanjiv Singh, president of the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM), today met Shingara Singh, assistant excise and taxation commissioner, and submitted a memorandum relating to VAT in Chandigarh.

Among the issues highlighted in the memorandum were the Implementation of the deemed assessment scheme in Chandigarh on the Punjab pattern, lowering of VAT rates from 12.5 per cent to 4 per cent on certain items such as pure desi ghee, sweetened flavoured milk, CFL bulbs tubes and other karyana items.

Shingara Singh informed the delegation that as Punjab had already amended the Act to include deemed assessment in it, the Chandigarh Administration had sent a request letter to the Centre to extend this amended Act to Chandigarh.



No activities in Aviation Club
Hemant Kumar

Kalka, August 1
Civil Aviation Club, Pinjore, is without any activities these days. Adventurous activities which had been running in the club since the past couple of years are discontinued. Official sources said the club had started gliding in 1980 and power flying in 1983.

The sources further said the club before 2004, with three pilots and one chief engineer, had been imparting commercial pilot training for which the club was charging Rs 7-8 lakh per student for 250 hours training and Rs 2-3 lakh from the domicile of Haryana. But the pilot training is not existing these days in the club.

The club had also closed joy rides in 2002. The Haryana civil aviation commissioner and HICA vice-president had sent a letter to the Central Government in November, 2003, mentioning the reintroduction of joy rides in February, 2004. The sources added that after February, 2008, the paragliding and parasailing had also been stopped, which was the special attraction for school boys and girls.



Panchkula assn’s plea on civic affairs
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 1
In view of the inability expressed by the Municipal Council to manage city affairs before the Punjab and Haryana High Court on July 29, the Panchkula Citizens Welfare Association has demanded that the civic body should not take up the matters it cannot handle properly.

Association president S.K Nayar said while the had informed the court that it could not keep the city cleaner and repair the roads due to resource crunch, there was a move to transfer the civil and electrical wings to it which HUDA had been looking after till now.

“When HUDA can work for the city in a better way then why the area belonging to the MC may not be shifted to HUDA with immediate effect for the convenience and benefits of the public in Panchkula,” contended Nayar in a press note.



Sewer mishap: Man succumbs to injuries
Our Correspondent

The gutter in Mohali being covered by MC officials in which Sukhwinder Singh fell and died in the PGI, Chandigarh.
The gutter in Mohali being covered by MC officials in which Sukhwinder Singh fell and died in the PGI, Chandigarh, on Friday. A Tribune photograph

Mohali, August 1
Sukhwinder Singh, who along with his friend had sustained head injuries after falling into an open sewer line near the Verka roundabout on July 30, died at the PGI, Chandigarh, today.

He was earlier taken to the Civil Hospital here from where he was referred to the PGI.

The Public Health Department which maintained the sewerage system in the area covered the open sewer line with a concrete slab today.

An official of the department said that the sewer line in question was passing from an area which fell outside the town and was full of wild growth, In fact, it was near the outfall sewer and nobody had made any complaint regarding the missing slab.

Sukhwinder Singh’s friend, Baljinder Singh, had sustained injuries after falling into the open sewer line.



Zirakpur MC chief ’s poll today
Tribune New Service

Zirakpur, August 1
The much-awaited elections to the Zirakpur Municipal Council president and vice-president would be held on August 2. The convener of the first meeting of the newly elected councillors, Jaspal Mittal, issued an agenda note to all the elected members for the elections .

NK Sharma and his group had swept the MC polls on June 30 following which the election of the president was to be held before July 23. However, the elections were delayed. Sharma and the nine other members of his group had finally approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court alleging a conspiracy behind the administration not holding elections. The case was adjourned till August 4.



New experiment with traffic lights
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
In a new experiment, the UT engineering department and the traffic police today re-scheduled the sequence of the traffic lights installed across the city.

From 8 pm onwards today, the traffic lights started functioning in an anti-clockwise manner instead of the earlier sequence of operation in clockwise manner.

Explaining the process, an official said due to operating of light in a clockwise manner, there used to be traffic chaos at the traffic junction due to wrong operating time and sequence of traffic. But now operating in anti-clock manner, the chances of traffic being held at the rotaries will be minimised.



Entrepreneurs to address IT event
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Some of the leading young would be addressing the two- day mega IT event, eRevolution 2008, on August 7 and 8 here.

According to official sources, Ganesh Natrajan, chairman, Nasscom and global head of Zensar Technology, along with Nasscom president Som Mittal, would be kicking off the conference deliberations with their addresses in the inaugural session.

eRevolution 2008 is the fourth edition of the annual event in which all the three state governments including Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh Administration, along with the Software Technology Park of India (STPI), are working hard to bring together the best brains from around the country to interact with the local talent.



Front thanks Punjab govt
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The Aided Schools Progressive Front, Punjab, at an emergency meeting, has condemned the negative attitude of certain elements who are levelling allegations against Ravinder Kumar Arora, section officer of the Audit Section.

The front has also thanked the Punjab government for accepting the demands for release of grants to the aided schools in Punjab from July 18.

The meeting was held under the chairmanship of US Brar. The district presidents and secretaries of the state also attended the meeting.



Traders for reforms in sales tax
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The Traders cell of the BJP held its meeting here today. 

A balanced rent Act, reforms in the sales tax, simplified building bylaws, property tax and a pension scheme for the traders were the prominent issues discussed at the meeting.

Senior leader Satya Pal Jain also addressed it.




Surjeet, a devoted personality

In the death of comrade Harkishan Singh Surjeet, CPI(M) has lost its most towering personality. Comrade Surjeet was a leader of international level who devoted his whole life to the cause of communist movement. His political life, spanned over eight decades, was that of an untiring and intelligent communist working for the cause of the people.

He had the great acumen to understand the changing reality and accordingly form a strategy consistent with the interest of the common people. For quite a long time while remaining on the centrestage of the national political scene, he provided an example of selfless personal conduct.

(Dr.) Raghbir Singh Sirjana, Chandigarh

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



Ragging at PU
Authorities rely on counselling than penalties
G. S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Incidents of ragging at Panjab University in the last two years have one thing in common. Senior students of University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) were involved in all the cases.

All this inspite of the fact that the Panjab University authorities had formed special anti-ragging committees even before the start of the current academic session to deal with the menace of ragging.

The university has formed an anti-ragging committee comprising 24 members under the chairmanship of DUI S.K. Kulkarni to formulate modalities for dealing with the problem but all these initiatives are perhaps not enough if one goes by the recent incident.

Though the Raghavan committee mentions strict penalties in such cases but authorities seem to be relying on counselling rather than penalties.

The way senior students come to the rooms of juniors to tell them to get prepared for ragging is enough to prove that the measures taken by the PU authorities are hollow in nature.

Ironically, the PU authorities’ stern steps are restricted to “suspension for a short period” caring two hoots about the bitter fact that no compensation could be made to heal the scars on the psyche of the junior students.

Last year, five cases of ragging were reported in the UIET hostel and students were expelled for two months.

In July last, as many as 11 students of UIET were expelled for ragging but were later let off.

Showing concern, D.S. Sohi, director of UIET, said PU should adopt Punjab Engineering College (PEC) pattern where freshers are kept at separate places. “With this practice, they get some time and space to get mix up with the seniors.

This policy worked wonders. I suggest the VC to adopt this practice from the next session.”

The PU authorities claimed that the anti-ragging committee had intensified night patrolling in hostels, but still the students did not have any fear in their minds.

One school of thought is that since the admissions for UIET is done through AIEEE rankings, students from different states with divergent backgrounds join the department. This is one of the reasons for a sort of revenge feeling cropping up in their minds.

But Sohi has a different view. “In my view, it is rather good to have students from different backgrounds. They come through genuine merits and there are very bleak chances of them forming a gang of sorts.”

Reacting on the recent incident, Sohi said, “We have counselled students not to indulge in this anti-social practice and have also called up their parents. We try our best to convince them about the hardships their parents have to go through to meet their study expenses. Looking at the future of the students, the authorities refrain from involving the police and try to solve the matters on their own. But still, lots need to be done.”

It is pertinent to mention here that the UGC had written to all the universities and educational institutions to follow the guidelines and recommendations of the Ragahvan committee to deal effectively with ragging.



CSIO, PEC sign joint research pact
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO) and Punjab Engineering College (PEC) today entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cooperate and undertake joint projects in areas of mutual interest.

Under the terms of the MoU, both institutions would carry out joint research work in specified areas, impart training to staff, students and technical personnel and take up joint sponsored and consultancy projects.

They will also exchange researchers on well-focused tasks. The focus will initially be on electronics, communications and information technology and other areas will be added subsequently. The MoU was signed by Dr Pawan Kapur, director of CSIO, a laboratory under the Council for Scientific and Industrial research and Prof Manoj Datta, director of PEC, a deemed university. Under the terms of reference of the MoU, CSIO and PEC will jointly organise conferences, workshops and training courses within the area of cooperation and it will give the opportunity to both institutions to share their respective research and development facilities, access to each others’ laboratories, library and information technology assets.



From Schools & Colleges
Interactive session on AIDS at GGDSD
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
The NSS unit of GGDSD College, Sector 32-C, Chandigarh, in association with AISEC, Chandigarh, organised an interactive seminar on HIV/ AIDS on the college campus today. "Prevention is the best cure," was emphasised upon by key speakers Laura Woodsward from the US and Kseniia Cherysh from Ukraine who are also currently enrolled as interns with AISEC.

They also enlightened the students about the causes of the deadly virus which is spreading at an alarming rate particularly in Asia. A small video movie was also shown showcasing the trauma that an HIV positive person goes through during his life. They also spoke about HIV/ AIDS from the perspective of a person who is suffering from it. The talk was followed by a quiz and a brief interactive session where the students raised queries regarding the killer diseases and got answers to their doubts and misconceptions.

TREE PLANTATION: The Lions Club, Chandigarh (Vishal), celebrated environment week and undertook a tree plantation project at Ryan International School-49, here, today.

The event was conducted under the chairmanship of Tarun Kapoor.

Over 20 saplings of molshree tree were planted on the school premises.

Region chairman K.K. Sharma, zone chairman Tejinder Singh Saini, zone chairman (region VI) Rajesh Kaushal, club advisor Kamal Arora were among those present.



PU Notes
BBA Fest: Students get tips on career options
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Aryans Business School (ABS) yesterday organised a BBA Fest at ICSSR Complex, PU, here. This was the last career counselling camp in the series of 10 camps held during the last three months.

V.K. Sharma, special secretary, Punjab Government, inaugurated the fest while Dr Rakesh Kumar Gupta, professor and adviser (Finance), PU, was the guest of honour. Anshu Kataria, chairman, Aryans Group, presided over the function.

A panel of management experts from various B-schools and colleges, including DAVC-10, GC-11, SD College-32, under the leadership of Dr K. K. Mangla (former chairman, UBS), guided the students about the various career options available in commerce and management.

The fest was helpful to 10th/10+2/ graduate students who were interested in doing not only BBA but also MBA, E-MBA, PGDM, PGPM, PGDRM, BBA, BCom, etc. Hundreds of students from various business schools of the tricity participated in the fest.

Demand for stipend

The Indian National Students Organisation (INSO) has reiterated its demand for payment of stipend to postgraduate students of pharmacy, who have not been given the stipend for the last one year. INSO has threatened agitation over the issue, if the demand was not met within seven days.

INSO PU campus chairman Sukhdev Kundu said the matter was raised earlier with PU vice-chancellor on July 8 when an INSO delegation submitted a memorandum to him to press the issue. The memorandum had stated that first-year students of M.Pharmacy, who have already been promoted to second year, as well as the outgoing second year students, had not been given UGC stipend for the last 10 months.

“Some first year students have been given the stipend after the matter was taken up by INSO, but no outgoing second-year student has yet been given any stipend for the last 11 months, which has defeated the purpose of this essential funding meant for the students,” said Sukhdev Kundu.



Students of Punjabi demand re-evaluation
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 1
Commotion marked the morning outside the Vice-chancellor’s office at Panjab University, here today, when as many as 29 students of MPhil (Punjabi) and MA (Punjabi) raised slogans against alleged autocratic attitude of varsity authorities.

The students of Punjabi department demanded re-evaluation of their papers as the university did in the case of four candidates just three days back. The students rued that their studies had suffered as their teachers did not take classes throughout the session.

They said two of the Punjabi teachers, Joginder Singh Nehru and Sukhdev Singh, never took classes the whole year because of their internal tussle. They argued that the issue was brought to the notice of the university authorities many times but in vain.

“We intimated to the chairman of Punjabi department, Jagjit Singh, many a time, but nobody paid any heed to it. Now where do we stand before students of other universities?” questioned the students and demanded grace marks in second paper of Kavita and third paper of Galap te Natak.

Students served a memorandum to dean, students welfare, Naval Kishore, who assured them that an independent scrutiny committee would be formed immediately. “Justice will be done with the students. Though there is no provision of re-evaluation in MPhil, but we will try to sort out the problem amicably in the special meeting and uniform policy will be adopted,” he said.

The DSW agreed that the teachers did not do justice to their duties. “It was in our knowledge that for quite long time, some of the teachers had not been taking classes. It is unfortunate that despite being part of Punjab, the Punjabi teachers are not doing justice with students. The committee will take serious notice of the indiscrepancy,” he added.



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